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Handy (Jam) OrganizationEasier Way, The (1946)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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Presents the case for motion study in the workplace and advises supervisors on how to convince skeptics that it is a good thing.

This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives

Producer: Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor: General Motors Corporation, Employee Cooperation Staff
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Time and motion study; Gender roles

Creative Commons license: Public Domain

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Average Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: JayKay49 - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - October 21, 2012
Subject: Very Matter of Fact
This movie takes no right or left turns getting to the point. Wasted motion is lowered production - important in the days when the good ol USA couldn't produce goods fast enough and move ahead to achieve and maintain that everpresent positive balance of trade. Ya know, that concept that gave this place the highest standard of living in the world; a concept, by the way, completely foreign (whoops, no pun intended) today.

Dick should have had more time in the green room, though, to put that ratty toupee on better and smack it down with some Brylcream. In that side shot it looks like a birds nest on his head.

Not much drama but the setting is soooo perfectly retro - right down to that flouncy apron and perfectly accomodating wives.
Reviewer: donwert - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - June 14, 2010
Subject: Things aren't what they appear!
This is a GM film about motion studies of industrial activities and why they are important. Supposedly, they permit more production with less work and are a "win-win" for the companies and the workers. Oh, happy day!
The reality is different as I found out during a summer factory job I had. We were assembling lawn sprinkers and had a daily quota to meet. If we exceeded the quota, we got a bonus. One 8-hr. shift we assembled so many sprinkers we got paid for 11 hours. I was happy as a clam! But the other workers, the ones who would still be assembling sprinkers when I went back to college, were alarmed. They explained that the "time & motion" man would soon be around to
figure out why we were over-filling the quota.
If we kept over-filling the quota, they would raise the quota---bye bye bounses! The trick was to over-fill the quota some days, but not on others---and not by so much as to arouse the company's interest. That way, they could earn a little extra from time-to-time, but not have the quota adjusted so that they could never earn any bonus. My practical education in factory life!
The "time & motion" men were despised...seen as having one goal: to squeeze as much from the workers as possible at the lowest cost to the company. GM's little film doesn't mantion any of this, of course!
Reviewer: USAship - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - February 25, 2010
Subject: Anyone for Folger's Crystals???
Seems as if no one wants Marge's coffee... and Bob will soon be out of a job with his zany time studies nonsense as corporate executives figure out it's just makes much more sense to simply outsource manufacturing and production to China & India! Who cares about those crazy time studies anyway??!! Say so long to Bob... and the good ol' U. S. of A.!!!! Now that's PROGRESS!!! (ain't it ironic???)
Reviewer: GE_Pretzel - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - March 23, 2006
Subject: Frederick Taylor would be proud
Bob, the protagonist of The Easier Way, explains how one can devise alternative methods of performing various repetitive tasks in order to minimize effort and completion time while maximizing productivity. As one would expect from the typical Handy Jam short, there is an effort made to use the subject matter as a vehicle for some fairly goofy humour, but the production doesn't stray from its didacticism. An excellent presentation of basic motion study theory in practice.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - March 5, 2006
Subject: Look, Ma! I Can Bore My Dinner Guests with Both Hands!
A guy whoÂs obsessed with time and motion study thoroughly ruins a dinner party by talking about nothing else and making the guests try out different ways of putting pegs into a pegboard. His wife gets even with him by assigning him to the kitchen to design a better way of doing dishes. This is a charmingly dorky film that actually makes its points pretty well, but in a silly way. Making it a highly entertaining piece of ephemera.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - September 20, 2003
Subject: Bob shows Dick he doesn't have to work so hard
A social situation is used to introduce an industrial topic. Bob's wife seems to put up with him quite well when he spills pegs over the table, but then the women are only concerned with women things like movies, making cofee, doing dishes, and watching their men get their efficiency up.
Reviewer: Spuzz - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - April 28, 2003
This is one lulu of a movie. Bob and Marge invite Dick and his wife for dinner. Bob just can't SHUT UP about motion study. Even his wife pleas with him before the couple gets there, "Oh, Bob, not now!". But soon after, Bob's got the peg board out showing how easy Motion Study is, and begs Dick to try putting pegs into a board. After several fumbling tries, Bob persuades him to do it another way, and he soon has a quicker way of putting the pegs into the board. Soon, the wives are squeeling, "That looks like fun" (It DOES?) The whole thing is of course, tied into better production of automobiles (or at least, putting washers on screws) and everyone just has a jolly time speaking about this banal topic. A real corker of a movie, this one is a MUST SEE on this site!!



It was not a friendly time at General Motors after a 113-day strike in the winter of 1945-46. The United Auto Workers (UAW) had been recognized by GM just four and a half years before the start of World War II, and wartime controls had regulated wage and price increases. Embryonic before being interrupted by war, the relationship between labor and management was young and poorly developed, and management was used to having its way, accustomed to telling workers what to do and how to do it. The Easier Way, which GM commissioned in 1946, expresses this attitude, selling efficiency as a boon for the worker rather than a means of maximizing profits.
The Easier Way was designed to convince line management (many of whom had risen from the ranks) that time and motion study was a good thing for industrial workers. Bob (a motion study expert) and Marge invite Dick Gardner, an assembly-line foreman and his wife over for dinner. The two men start talking about motion study. Bob asserts that "a man can produce more without working a bit harder." Dick has risen from the ranks and is suspicious of all this time and motion study stuff, feeling that it's just designed to wring more work out of people. Bob tries to disabuse him of this idea, saying, "Now we're able to produce more and more stuff with less and less effort on the part of the guys who do the work. That's what motion study's for. We point out how the machines and tools and the methods of using them should be changed to make it easier for the operator." Dick is still suspicious: "It's gonna be hard to make some of the boys understand that." Bob answers, "It'll take time. But first, I've gotta sell men like you."
Bob, Marge and the Gardners play with a pegboard and practice different ways of inserting the pegs into the holes. This hands-on demo convinces Dick of the righteousness of Bob's views: "The boys will listen to stuff that makes sense. Especially if it makes it easier for us to get
Like a grown-up Alexander Phipps, Bob tries to infiltrate motion study into the domestic routine. "Now take this simple job of setting the table. Women do it the hard way." "Now Bob," says Marge, "you can't run a house like a factory." Bob responds: "Why not? Think of the effort you'd save. Maybe you wouldn't be so tired at the end of the day." As Marge sets the table, Bob sneaks a look at his timepiece. As the film ends, she ties an apron around Bob and makes him do the dishes.
In The Easier Way, we see company management drawing a line between issues subject to bargaining and others that it considers non-negotiable. GM is asserting here that the work process Ñ its technology, design and management Ñ is its own to plan and control, no matter how much influence unions exert in its plants. In fact, productivity increases were a major agenda item for General Motors at the time. In 1948, GM chairman Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. and president Charles E. Wilson proposed that the new GM-UAW contract link wage increases to increases in worker productivity, with adjustments for the cost of living. This clause was adopted in 1948 and was part of labor agreements for over twenty years. The business community praised the linkage between productivity and wages, and General Motors "got its production."


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